Beating expectations on the back of higher exports and returns on overseas investments, Japan's current account surplus in May grew 31.1% from a year earlier, the government said July 11.
The world's second-largest economy had a surplus of 2.13 trillion yen (US$17.5 billion) in the current account, the broadest measure of trade in goods and services, the finance ministry reported. The trade surplus alone rose 1% to 490.4 billion yen, growing for a fifth straight month, with exports climbing 14.6% to 6.24 trillion yen and imports up 16% to 5.75 trillion yen.
Automobiles, steel and semiconductor products led the increase in exports, the finance ministry said. Imports were supported by higher purchases of nonferrous metals and telecommunication products.
Another major contributor to the overall improvement was the income account, where the surplus grew 36.6% to 1.79 trillion yen as companies and individuals saw increased returns on overseas investments.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007